Sculpture of 'America's Pastor' Unveiled in DC

The late Billy Graham is honored by his home state of North Carolina at the US Capitol
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2024 1:45 PM CDT
Billy Graham Sculpture Unveiled at US Capitol
From left, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. Virginia Foxx, and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson applaud as a sculpture of the late Rev. Billy Graham is unveiled at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A bronze sculpture of the late Rev. Billy Graham, the prolific evangelist also known as "America's Pastor," was unveiled at the US Capitol on Thursday. Graham's likeness, depicting the minister with his archetypal gesture toward an open Bible in his hand, was revealed inside National Statuary Hall during a gathering of lawmakers and Graham's family, per the AP.

  • The 7-foot tall statue is one of two that North Carolina and each state get to place on display inside the hall or elsewhere in the Capitol to honor notables in their history. Graham was born in Charlotte.

  • Graham, who lived most of his adult life in the North Carolina mountain community of Montreat, died in 2018 at age 99. Graham was the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, preaching in person to nearly 215 million people worldwide, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. His last crusade meetings were held in New York in 2005.
  • An adviser of presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush, Graham influenced both the political and spiritual realm during his ministry career. As a symbol of that nexus, Graham's body was laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda after his death, marking just the fourth private citizen at that time to receive the distinction, the association said.
  • The Graham statue replaces one of early 20th-century Gov. Charles Aycock, who, while known as an education advocate, has fallen from favor because of his ties to the white supremacy movement at the time.
  • The Graham sculpture was created by Charlotte-based artist Chas Fagan and bronzed in the state. The base, also created from local granite, is inscribed with two verses from the Book of John that highlight Graham's evangelistic ministry. The other North Carolina statue commissioned for the National Statuary Hall is a likeness of Civil War-era Gov. Zebulon Vance, who was also a Confederate military officer and US senator.
(More Billy Graham stories.)

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